Why Canadian Writers Should Beware of Create Space

Recently, the paperback rights to one of my novels, Nowhere to Run, reverted to me. Since the publisher still owns the ebook rights, I decided to go ahead and self publish the paperback since I really wanted to hold a copy of the novel I worked so hard on in my hands.

The first thing I did was have a cover designed. I'm very happy with it and more than willingly paid the $100 US to have a professional design it thinking perhaps, in time, I would recoup the money on paperback sales. I did the interior design myself and the end product, if I don't say so myself, is very professional. I'm proud of the novel.

After ordering a proof copy and determining all was well, I made it available for sale on Amazon. However, here's the rub - as a Canadian author, I must wait until I have $100US in royalties before I see one cent of the money I make from sales.

Since Nowhere to Run's release in paperback on October 3, 2015, I've made four sales with a total royalty amount of a little over $8.00. It's unlikely that I will sell forty-five more copies any time soon as those four copies were to friends and family. And, as we all know, ebooks out sell paperbacks because they are a more economical purchase.

When setting up my account, the only payment type I was allowed to select (as a Canadian) was payment by check, not direct deposit, which is subject to attaining the minimum threshold amount. Other counties such as the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, or the Netherlands, are eligible for monthly direct deposits and therefore, do not have to meet any threshold requirements in order to get paid.

To make it clear, Amazon is keeping all of my profits, every single penny, until I meet the threshold which is, at best, difficult if not impossible, in the over crowded self-publishing marketplace.

Canadian writers beware. Don't make the same mistake I did. Use Lulu for printing your paperbacks because they print Canadian books in Canada and thus, you'll save a ton of money in shipping. Also, use other online booksellers to sell your books and drive traffic to those sites. Amazon is, like its name implies, a monster! It's a huge corporation with a bad reputation. They blatantly steal whatever they can from the pockets of hard-working writers.

I don't know about you, but I write novels in order to build a career, to make a living, not to "give" the proceeds of my sales to Amazon. Like I wrote earlier, it's unlikely that I will ever make enough sales for Amazon to pay me. I spent money on a cover and a year of my life writing Nowhere to Run, all to what end? It's discouraging and frustrating and most of all, extremely unfair.

Also, my book is not available on Amazon.ca so my Canadian friends and family have to pay more because of the present weakness of the Canadian dollar as well as higher shipping fees (also in American dollars). To say the least, I am more than disappointed.

Feel free to contact me with any questions (or suggestions).


  1. Hi, Jeanne. As you know, I published the paperback version of my hf, Stolen, on CreateSpace. I experience the same frustrations you do. My book does, however, appear on Amazon Canada and because you also chose 'expanded distribution', yours may also show up there - eventually. In fact, I'm waiting to see if it does before I order a copy!
    When I spoke with CreateSpace over the issue of being paid by check, they told me Amazon was reassessing its arrangement with Canadian authors, and we may be able to be paid by direct deposit - in 2016!
    I managed to reach the first $100 'milestone' because my book sold to Canadian libraries (who will not purchase from Amazon U.S.) as well as to many loyal friends. However, I am now stuck at about $8.75, and may well never see another check from Amazon - even if I earn $99 in royalties after many years.
    I chose CreateSpace for a reason, though. It was the only P.O.D. publisher I found which did not require any money upfront. It also offers a very good deal for author copies. Does Lulu require money upfront? If so, how much? I'm curious. Also, do they offer an author rate if you buy copies of your own book? Do they have any kind of threshold requirements? Where do they sell your book?
    Another beef I had with CreateSpace is now no longer an issue. At first, my Canadian buyers had to wait up to 6 weeks to get their copies! Now, it seems to take only days for Amazon Canada to deliver to Canadian buyers.
    It's all very odd, and I heard it had something to do with Chapters/Indigo trying to sue Amazon because "Amazon Canada" was actually located in the U.S. Chapters lost the lawsuit, but Amazon seems never to have forgiven Canada for it happening in the first place.
    CreateSpace and Amazon told me they were working on the issues, but I'm not holding my breath.
    I would still choose CreateSpace for a Canadian pb again, for two main reasons:
    1. Libraries will buy only from Amazon Canada, so it is worth taking the risk that your book will show up there. It should show up eventually, but there are no guarantees!
    2. Amazon reaches more readers than any other site. I have my ebook of Stolen listed on iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. but have sold only 3 copies this way, whereas I have sold hundreds through Kindle Direct.
    I don't like Amazon, and will switch as soon as I find a better way to sell my books. But, for me, CreateSpace is the only viable option for paperbacks at the moment, mostly because of no overhead (other than the cover, and editing).

    1. Hi Sheila, Lulu seems very similar to Createspace but like I said in my blog post, you'll save a ton in shipping. The prices for you own book are quite low and are in CDN currency. You can distribute to all the same booksellers (including Amazon if you wish) through Lulu as well. It's pretty much the same business model as Createspace. Have a look: http://www.lulu.com/create


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